Date: 1st June 2007 at 12:43pm
Written by:

What a difference a week makes. John Achterberg has gone from being released by the club he`s spent nine years at, and looking like joining a lower league team, to signing a two year contract and obtaining coaching roles within the first and youth team set-ups. Needless to say there was a lot more that went on in between that.

On Friday 25th May, a massacre of executions went on in the club, with fans-favourite, Big John, being one of them, after apparently failing a medical. Upon hearing that there will be no testimonial for the one many call a Rovers legend, a dedicated fan started a petition to attain as many signatures as possible to present the Rovers faithful.

While the petition was reaching the thousands, the club released an article on their official website, which offered a “view” to the situation, but sparked a reaction from fans they would not have wanted. Basically, the article summed up that they matched every demand, including a testimonial and a coaching role within the club, that John made, but he kept wanting more or tried to instigate a “bidding-war” between Tranmere and other interested parties, with one being locals, Chester City, and that negotiations had been ongoing for sometime, and no conclusion had been made. Which in all fairness, should not be tolerated by any player. But Achterberg, speaking to the local newspaper said he “strongly disagreed” with the claims put together by the club. Also, upon hearing about his release from the club, the ‘keeper stated on his website that “the leaving has come very quickly” which we brought to your attention. And so it seemed that a battle of their word against mine was going to occur, until Tranmere made a radical U-turn.

I`m sure that most Rovers fans, upon hearing the news of John`s resigning, reacted with mixed feelings. I, on one hand, was over the moon that a player with his experience and connections with the club, had a coaching role, as it can only bring the club forward. But, on the other hand, what were the club playing at, making a mockery out of a player`s release, only to resign him.

But I do believe that coming together of fans has really paid of. We let the club know how big of a player Achterberg is to us, and I applaud the fan who took the initiative and started the petition. We, at VITAL Tranmere have given you the most up-to-date news on the goalkeeper, and we will continue to do so as he embraces his new coaching roles, and the challenge of obtaining a first place spot, after being told he will be second fiddle to any new goalkeeper coming in.

We wish John every success with his new roles at Tranmere, and here`s to a successful season!